"Derech Hashem -- The Way of God" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Feldheim, 1997).
Quietly studying a page of the Talmud on a crowded plane, the great Orthodox teacher and thinker Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was interrupted by a passenger in the next seat.
"Pardon me. What is that you are studying?" the man asked.
Soloveitchik explained the nature of the Talmud, and that he was a professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University.
The man was incredulous. "Do you mean that people spend their entire lives thinking about religion?" he asked. "Why, I thought that all of religion could be succinctly summarized as 'Do unto others what you would have them do unto you'!"
Inspirational speeches are sometimes improved by leaving out the words.
The proverbial apple may not fall far from the tree. Often, though, the question is: which tree?
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is talking about kabbalistic teachings with such passion that he pitches forward in his chair, but just as quickly settles back. His arms are a flurry of activity, and he continuously grabs the black kippah that keeps threatening to slip from his head.
Many people assume that Jewish law unequivocally advocates capital punishment, because of frequent references to capital crimes and capital punishment in the Torah. But while Jewish law supports the death penalty in theory, the Oral Law makes it difficult, and in most cases impossible, to execute someone for murder, says Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, director of the Jewish Studies Institute of Yeshiva of Los Angeles and the chair of Jewish law and ethics at Loyola Law School.